Is Rock Dead?

Rock ‘n’ roll emerged in the 1950s, as a combination of various genres such as jazz, rhythm and blues, folk, and country music. This guitar led genre was seen as a revolution, as well as an outcry to the corporate America takeover. Although it brought worry and fear to the older generations, the youth embraced this sound that enabled them to express themselves so thoroughly, and rebel against the boundaries that were set for them. Rock ‘n’ roll music, as well as its various subcultures, defined a generation and managed to remain one of the most popular genres of the second half of the 20th Century.


Throughout the 70s, rock music was slowly leaving its bluesy roots, and constantly reinventing itself, since bands and artists like KISS, Alice Cooper and David Bowie were introducing new sub-genres such as glam rock, hard rock and shock rock. However, despite the innovation that was present in the industry, rock music was inevitably being commercialized. This led to origin of punk rock, which had a much louder, rougher and faster sound than classic rock and therefore was once again making rock ‘rebellious’. Following this brief punk rock takeover, rock music that was being played on the radio was beginning to sound dangerously smooth and was appealing to the ears much more than rock had initially intended to. Therefore, it wasn’t unexpected that another rock revolution occured in the early 1990s. With bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam and Soundgarden, alternative rock and grunge, genres that aimed to avoid being mainstream, somehow became mainstream. Once again rock had managed to define an entire decade and irritate and unsettle parents, while empowering the teenagers.

Despite rock’s undeniable dominance throughout the second half of the 20th Century, in the last ten years, there has been a serious lack of rock music in the charts, which have been heavily reigned by hip hop. The main cause of this is debatable. It is often blamed on the increasing influence of technology, since some might say that the raw instruments of rock ‘n’ roll is no longer appealing to an audience which expects the heavy influence of technology in every aspect of their lives. It is also said that modern rock bands are just not good enough. Other than a few exceptions like Radiohead and Arctic Monkeys, which are successful rock bands with minimal mainstream success today, modern rock bands don’t seem to be very innovative as they have generally been reflecting what has already been done in the past.


Although, is impossible to know when and if this lack of rock ‘n’ roll in the charts will come to an end, it is comforting to think that we are just being awaited by another rock revolution.